Monday, January 30, 2012


Friday evening, I was in the office surfing the Internet when Julie called from the living room. “Do you hear that strange noise?” 

The only noise I heard was Julie talking, and that’s not strange. 

“Can’t you hear that?” she asked. 

I employed my first problem solving strategy and ignored the problem in hopes that it would go away. 

It didn’t go away. 

“Arghh!” Julie yelled from the living room. “Amy, come save us. There’s a bat flying around the living room!” 

“What do you want me to do?” 

“You’re big and brave,” she yelled. “Get it out!” 

I am the older sister, and I am supposed to be big and brave when my brothers and sisters need help, so I walked down the hallway to the living room. 

Sure enough, a bat was swooping through the room while Julie sat on the couch with a blanket over her head. 

I employed my second problem solving strategy; I studied the problem and thought about a solution. I stood in the doorway and watched the bat swoop. 

Julie employed her problem solving strategy. She talked about the problem. Actually, she rambled. “It’s big and I don’t like bats and Amy, just get it out…” 

The bat swooped into the bedroom. 

“Brian,” Julie said, finally. “We need Brian. He can get the bat out.” 

“Then call him,” I said. “My phone’s in the bedroom with the bat.” 

Julie peeked out from her blanket and reached to the opposite side of the couch. She found her phone and immediately called our brother Brian. 

“Brian, we need you to come rescue us. There’s a bat and it’s huge,” she said. 

“No, it’s not,” I said. 

“It’s flying all over the house,” she said. 

“It’s in the bedroom,” I said. 

“Come get it out,” she said. 

Suddenly the bat swooped from the bedroom into the living room. Julie ducked under her blanket. The bat circled the kitchen and headed down the hallway past the bathroom to the office. I grabbed a mop and stood in the doorway of the hallway to keep the bat in the office until help arrived. 

The bat swooped around the tiny office and headed back down the hallway. Then it realized I was blocking the exit. It panicked and slipped into a crack between the bathroom doorjamb and the wall. It stayed there until Brian arrived, armed with a broom and a snow shovel. 

We explained the situation and Brian used a flashlight to peer into the crack. “Ah-hah!” he said. Julie yelped and ducked under the blanket. “It’s in there. How do we get it out?” 

We discussed our problem and various solutions, including duct tape. Finally, I employed my third problem solving strategy and googled “how to get a bat out of the house.” Critter Catchers Inc. suggested trapping a bat under a coffee can. If the bat was flying around the house, they said to “stay calm and attempt to steer the flying bat outside.” 

Our bat was not flying. It was hiding in a crack near the bathroom door. We decided to prod the bat until it flew out and then steer it out the front door. We opened the door. Then Brian grabbed a fire poker and handed me the snow shovel. Julie offered to share a blanket with me. 

“I’m not sharing a blanket with you,” I said. I didn’t want her to dive under the blanket and leave me with nothing. Instead I pulled my hoodie over my head and tightened the drawstrings. 

Julie returned to her corner of the couch. 

“I could take the pictures,” she said, when I commented that I couldn’t wave a snow shovel and take pictures at the same time. 

“I don’t need any pictures of the inside of a blanket,” I told her. “That’s the only thing you’ll see when the bat flies out.” When I have to act big and brave, I’m not always kind and gentle. 

We were ready. Brian had his poker, I had the snow shovel and Julie had a blanket. Brian poked inside the crack. 

The bat tweeted. Brian poked. The bat chattered. Brian poked. The bat squawked. 

Then, whoosh. “There it goes!” Brian yelled. 

Flop. The bat crashed on the living room floor. I covered it with the snow shovel. “Got it!” 

Brian guarded the bat while Julie peeked out from her blanket and I ran to the kitchen for a coffee can. Julie and I don’t drink coffee, so I found a bowl. Then I ran to the sunroom to find something to slip under the bowl. I returned with the piece of Formica Dad gave us to glue behind our laundry tub. 

Brian trapped the bat under the bowl, then slid the Formica under the bowl and lifted the bat, bowl and Formica and carried them outside. I closed the door, and Brian freed the wounded bat. 

“It’s gone,” we told Julie. “It won’t come back.” 

I didn’t tell her that according to my Google research it was a Big Brown Bat. Big Brown Bats live in colonies. Somewhere nearby live other bats, friends and brothers and uncles of the bat that had been flying in our house. 

“Go to bed and forget about the bat,” we told Julie. 

Julie slept fine all night. 

I may appear big and brave, but I admit I woke up a couple of times during the night. I pictured that bat swooping through the bedroom and I wiggled a little further under my blanket.


  1. Thanks for bringing some humor to my morning with your bat adventure, Amy! While probably not the most pleasant experience :), it sure makes for a great story and memories for you all!

  2. ha ha
    not kind and gentle,
    that applies for more than just when you are big and brave,
    just look up the post about kids asking for smoke breaks!
    ~a little sister

  3. That's why, "He's still working on me to make me what I ought to be."

  4. Great story. I'm scared of bats too.

  5. I'm grateful for one thing about the resulted in a great post from Amy, exhibiting her considerable writing skills, mirrored only by her considerable photography skills!:-) I know that one picture is supposed to be worth a thousand words, but I'm a word person!:-) So thanks for feeding my story tank this morning!

    I vote to have Brian move in permanently in the role of Bat Patrol. Just in case any furry relatives even think of paying a visit.

    ~ Betsy

  6. Please Please Please do more with this story! It's WONDERFULLY written and very entertaining. I really, really, really love it. Is there someway to make it into a Shutterfly book or ?

    Of course this story would prompt a retelling of the bat/tennis racket/Hope College story if Grandpa were here to tell it :)

  7. Ha ha!!! Oh my gosh! I was cracking up to this story!
    We were told by a pest control guy (when we were experiencing our first "bat-in-the-house" in Minnesota) that bats are very habitual creatures, so they tend to return if they found a spot they like. Your wounded friend might be back!
    By the way, I would have been under the blanket with Julie. I don't even pretend to be brave when it comes to bats. Oh, and Justin's preferred safety measure when it comes to bats is a laundry basket on his head. I'm not sure how helpful that is, but it might make for a hilarious picture!